Sunday, May 3, 2015

Fatty liver disease if not controlled can lead to cancer

Excessive consumption of alcohol and increased prevalence of obesity has made fatty liver disease as serious as hepatitis B and C, say experts.

The liver is the second largest organ in one's body, which is located under the rib cage on the right side. It processes what one eats and drinks and converts it into energy and nutrients that the body can use. The liver also removes harmful substances from the blood. According to experts, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is now one of the most common causes of chronic liver disease, which could be caused by obesity, eating junk food, lack of exercise, diabetes and high cholesterol.

Alcoholic and NAFL (non-alcoholic fatty liver) disease could lead to cancer. Liver cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the world. If the damage is not controlled at this stage by lifestyle changes, it may progressively lead to liver cirrhosis, requiring a liver transplant.

It has been seen in various studies that nearly 20 percent of the general population suffers from NAFL. This figure increases to up to 80 percent in those who are obese or diabetic. Up to five percent of these can develop progressive disease.

Hepatitis B carriers are there in two to four percent of the general population and hepatitis C is about 1.5 percent. As the incidence of fatty liver increases progressively, patients of fatty liver requiring transplant may soon surpass those of hepatitis B and C.

Fatty liver is the accumulation of fat in the liver cells. Fatty liver may be associated with liver swelling (inflammation) in some patients leading to slow liver cell death, scarring, ultimately causing cirrhosis.

The disease can be diagnosed easily through ultrasound. Patients come either with non-specific pain and lethargy. Ultrasound diagnoses the disease easily. MRI is more specific, final diagnosis and classification is done by a liver biopsy.

While doctors said that the disease is not passed in generations, they pointed out that dietary patterns within families are usually the same.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Even 1 alcohol drink a day can cause liver problem and lead to cirrhosis

According to a new worldwide study that was presented at The International Liver Congress 2015, daily drinking may have significant influence on cirrhosis burden.

The new data has revealed that cirrhosis burden caused by alcohol goes up by 11.13 per cent when moving from the moderate to heavy daily drinking classification.

Generally, the studies which assess prevalence of alcohol abuse as risk factor for alcoholic cirrhosis consider the total annual amount drunk per person. However, the researchers have highlighted the fact that clinical studies have shown that the strongest predictor of alcoholic cirrhosis is a high daily consumption.

The research says that the country's cirrhosis burden is most significantly and independently influenced by heavy daily drinkers.

The global report on Alcohol and Health by the World Health Organization said that about 6 per cent of the global deaths are caused by drinking alcohol.

Most of these are caused by alcoholic cirrhosis, scarring of liver owing to continuous long-term damage. Half of the cases of liver cirrhosis are caused by alcohol.

The WHO's Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health was analysed by the researchers. Therefore, reducing heavy drinking must be considered as a very important target for public health monitoring and policies.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Aadhar set to cross 100 crore mark in 2015: 81 crore done and counting fast

India is one of the few countries in the world, whose citizens does not have an ID card. Aadhar was supposed to change that. Aadhar the 12-digit individual identification number has crossed 81 crore and is all set to reach 100 crore mark in 2015 or in first quarter of 2016. The current run rate is more than 2.3 crore every month which if continues will take us close to 100 crore mark by the end of this year and even cross it.

It has become a base tool for doling out various government benefits including subsidies and is even being used for issuance of basic services like mobile numbers by private players. There are also talks about matrimonial websites insisting on Aaadhar-verification to root out fake profiles of prospective brides and grooms from such platforms.

This is 1 scheme which if UPA had done a sincere job would have reaped great benefit out of it. The program was stuck in tussle between Home Ministry & Finance Ministry/Planning Commission. In 2014, many people had almost written it off. The turning point came when the UIDAI founder Nandan Nilekani met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and was successful in convincing the NDA government about benefits of Aadhaar. As a result, speculations soon subsided about UIDAI hitting the end of the road under the new regime.

Subsequently, the government has begun using Aadhaar for weeding out the ghost beneficiaries of subsidies and other benefits, as also to curb corruption and to put an additional layer of checks against terrorism and other crimes.

In his first Union Budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley even increased the allocation for the project to Rs 2,039 crore, from Rs 1,550 crore in the previous fiscal, while making it clear that the new government wants to use Aadhaar platform for 'anywhere and anytime authentication' for providing host of services and benefits to the citizens.

When the project was started, UIDAI was mandated to collect biometrics of 60 crore residents in the country and rest of the population was to be covered under the National Population Register (NPR) project. However, it has already crossed 81 crore.

Initially, UIDAI was to enrol residents in 18 states in the country. Realising the importance of Aadhaar project and slow progress by NPR, the previous government allocated four more states -- Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh and Bihar to UIDAI for enrolments in February 2014.

Aadhar has the potential to revolutionize how public services are delivered in India.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Eating wrong food can make us irritable and angry

If we see red at the drop of a hat, and temper is hijacking our life, researchers say we should take a closer look at what's on our plate. Trans fat and high sugar-laden fast food not only up our risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but also leave us vulnerable to angry outbursts and violent behavior.

The experts say that the body requires a balanced supply of nutrients - vitamins, minerals (sodium, potassium, magnesium), protein, carbohydrate and fiber - for the metabolism to function smoothly and deal with daily stress triggers. Junk food, which is typically high in sugar, salt and oil is low in nutrients. Nutrient deficiency leaves a person hyperactive towards a stressor. They put it down to what the liver can break down. Each of our organs is associated with specific emotions.

The liver controls anger and joy. When we consume food that takes the liver greater effort to break down — greasy snacks, alcohol and meats — all the body's energy goes into this task, leaving us irritable. Nutritionists argue that sugar is the other enemy of happiness. Sugar-laden foods throw the body's insulin levels out of gear. As soon as we consume sweet, insulin levels spike to break down the glucose. Once done, the insulin remains in the bloodstream, leading to a further dip in blood sugar levels, setting you up for another craving. Feeling low and irritable sets the stage for aggressive behaviour. This is why our sugar craving should be met with foods rich in natural sugar like millets, brown rice, potatoes, etc.

Ayurveda has, for centuries, discussed the link between food, body and mind. Our constitution, according to this belief system, can be classified into three types: Vata (air), Pitta (fire) and Kapha (water). Foods high in acidic properties (papads, pickle) when consumed in excess, lead to an imbalance in Pitta, which could lead to irritation or anger.
Water emerges as the saviour. Even mild dehydration (the condition when the body loses more fluid than it gains) can affect concentration levels and our ability to think clearly and control moods.
Water makes up over two thirds of the human body, and when its normal levels are reduced, it upsets the balance of minerals like salts and sugars, affecting the way it functions.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Net Neutrality important for the success of Make In India

India is trying to push Make In India campaign and encouraging entrepreneurship among young people. Many new companies are cropping up every month and start up is a good buzz word among many of the cities especially Bangalore.

In contrast, some of the people are intending to create Haves and Have Nots in the internet world. The idea is that people with money will control the content and bandwidth on internet. This is what is the battle to protect "Net Neutrality" is all about.

1) Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all traffic on their networks equally. That means users should be able to access all websites at the same speed and cost. No website should be given preferential treatment over another.

2) The idea is to ensure that the Internet remains a level playing field, not least because that allows innovation. If some websites are offered free or at faster speeds, the balance tips towards established players with deeper pockets. All data must be treated equally.

If it Net Neutrality is not protected then it will be difficult for new start ups to challenge the existing dinosaurs and start ups and innovation will be severely affected. 

It is in the interest of India and also in line with the vision of current Prime Minister to keep the net neutral. Any attempt to tamper with the net neutrality should be dealt with severely.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Kamalahar proves ayurvedic medicine's efficacy against hepatitis B

Approximately Four per cent of the Indian population is suffering from hepatitis B virus. That's 40 million people out there who are capable of transmitting the virus to others, through blood transfusions, needles, exchange of body fluids, sexual intercourse etc.

It's even more infectious than even the infamous HIV virus, scoring a 33 per cent on an 'infectivity' rate against HIV's 0.3 per cent.

There is a vaccine against hepatitis B virus available but there aren't many Indians who earn enough to buy it. And if you already have the virus, the vaccine is of no help. You have to opt for other drugs.

India is bracketed in the intermediate zone as far as the spread of the disease is concerned -- between two and seven per cent of the population -- and is expected to soon enter the senior league, the highly prevalent zone (8-20 per cent).

An Ayurvedic medicine, Kamalahar made from plant extracts, has been used to treat jaundice, hepatitis, cirrhosis, fatty liver, ascites and other liver disorders. Many patients suffering from hepatitis B have been cured through it. 

Of the five hepatitis viruses, Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E, A and E are water borne and, therefore, spread less easily. But hepatitis B, C, and D are very dangerous and can be passed on through blood transfusion, injections, needles, body fluids, sexual intercourse, etc, in a fashion reminiscent of the HIV virus.

These three viruses not only produce acute jaundice but also lead to chronic liver diseases like liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Carriers may show no symptoms but they still can pass on the virus. And just because they have no signs of the disease does not mean they cannot be affected. For, after several years of carrying the virus, they can develop liver cancer or liver cirrhosis.

In the developed countries, even in the seventies, it was mandatory to test the donated blood for hepatitis B. But that is not the case in many countries. As a result many people have been infected with hepatitis virus due to blood transfusion.

Kamalahar recentely expanded its reach to many countries and is now available online and can be bought from the website

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Massive wastage of food and other items by Indian Railways

Indian railways is a big network with hundreds of express trains daily. In many of these trains food is served 3 times in a day. Millions of passengers use Indian railways to commute from one city to another city. In trains like Rajdhani, Shatabadi, Duranto; passengers are charged for the meals along with the ticket. The meals are lavish and passengers are continuously fed.

The issue is that a good amount of food is left over in almost all the trains in which meals are served. Most of the food is perishable and the left overs are thrown away by people who serve food in the trains. The leftover also include fully packed food which many people with health problems do not eat. For e.g. vegetables which cannot be eaten by people suffering from heart or BP problem.

Railways have introduced many good systems in place and it can easily manage the leftovers and work with NGOs and other social organizations to make sure that the food is not wasted and utilized in proper way.